Posted by: harrisandyou | June 4, 2014

How Much Plastic

“32 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2012, representing 12.7 % of total MSW.”  US EPA

Plastic is being produced in huge quantities, some of it recycled, some of it ends up in landfills and some of it ends up in our oceans.  I went to the recycling center last week to turn in glass and plastic bottles and cans.  The plastic that was turned in was by far greater than the amount of glass bottles.  And yet this did not represent all of the plastic bottles since they did not accept all resin identification codes (RIC).

Plastic manufacturing has increased dramatically since 1960 however “only 9% of the total plastic waste generated in 2012 was recovered for recycling.” (US EPA) These numbers are outstanding and manufacturers need to take responsibility to recover these plastics.  Some plastics that are recycled are made into new products – good you think but  this will produce hazardous gases that will be leached into the environment and into the new product.

Glass can be a much better alternative.  More glass bottles are recycled.  For instance at the recycling center there were many barrels of beer bottles that were turned in.  Those bottles can be recycled and made into something new without as much hazardous gas leaching into the environment or into the new item.

I remember as a child we received milk, juice and sodas in glass bottles not plastic.  Yes glass is heavier and more expensive to produce but let’s look at the big picture it will help reduce our carbon footprint, produce healthier air and waterways.




  1. I hope a lot of people will read this article and act on it. Most people simply do not care and that is sad.

    • Me too – we need less plastic for the health of the people and planet!
      Thank you!

  2. The ’67 movie The Graduate was sadly prescient:
    Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
    Benjamin: Yes, sir.
    Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
    Benjamin: Yes, I am.
    Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

    • I did not remember that in the movie.
      Thank you Zero Waste Chef! We would all be better off without it.

      • Benjamin doesn’t know what to do with his life, so Mr. McGuire tells him the future is in the plastic business. I think about that scene a lot. I wish we could go back. Anyway, I’m rambling…

        Thank you too 🙂

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